The latest track from Brooklyn’s, Brick Blair, is called Two Dollar Coat. We’d not come across Brick before but as fans of John Prine, this song ticks every box there is.
A beautiful, gentle and heartfelt folk song from the perspective of someone who is homeless. Brick writes passionately on the subject and states that although he has never been homeless, he has come close.
There’s something really evocative about the title of this song. It just conjures up perfectly, an image of desperation. Aside from the very clear John Prine influences, this song had a Ralph McTell – Streets of London feel to it too. Superb imagery in the lyrics; the line “look away darling, so we can’t see you pretending to care” particularly touched me.
The song is a simple recording of just vocals and acoustic guitar. The acoustic is very warm and well recorded with just the right amount of reverb on it. It feels as though it has several mics on it. There’s some love transients in the guitar track without it being dominant. The vocals are warm and endearing. I can hear that Brick is close to the mic when he’s singing – you pick up every little nuance in his voice; the breaths, the creaks and the enunciation of every word. The vocals are clear and sit well in the mix.
There’s some really outstanding control in Brick’s vocals on the long “ooh” sections. The vibrato that comes in just towards the end of each “ooh” shows some great vocal technique and well executed diaphragm control.
Two Dollar Coat has a lovely live feel to it. It put me in mind of John Prine’s live album “Fair and Square”.
Its clear that Brick and his producer have put a great deal of time into making the best stripped down track possible. For my own personal taste I’d add a wide boost centering around the 7-8kHz mark to give the vocals even more presence, but aside from this, this is a well produced, well written track with some real heartstring pulling lyrics.
I can imagine this track doing extremely well on college radio, folk shows, etc across North America. it feels like it would sit comfortably within a TV show and to my mind, has huge potential with the right promotional campaign behind it. It feels like a song that has always existed. It really is just beautiful.